According to a recent Gallup poll, over 42% of all American employees said they worked from home for some portion of 2016. Furthermore, last year saw a massive increase in a number of people working from home for four or five days of the week; from 24% to 31%. Of course, this poll would have been taken from a small sample so the actual figures may be a little different but it still shows how different the workforce is in today’s society.
For all employees, this is great news because there have already been numerous studies that show increased health and decreased stress in those who spend a portion of their working week at home as opposed to the office. For managers and business owners though, this can be quite damaging if not managed correctly. Although research suggests greater efficiency and employee engagement when at home, it still needs to be controlled in the right way to be successful. Today, we have some tips to allow this to happen.
VoIP and Remote Teams
With technology more advanced than ever before, there are now some fantastic solutions that will allow your team to stay in contact no matter where they are in the world. In fact, some businesses even hire across the US and even in Europe because it is possible to manage remote teams effectively with the available VoIP technology. If we use Google Hangouts as an example, there’s no reason why you can’t still have a morning meeting with employees. With this conference calling system, everyone can log in at a particular time, and it’ll be just like sitting at the same desk.
Elsewhere, Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems mean that each employee can still access the phone system even when they’re away from the office. In fact, virtual numbers can also be extended to employees which means clients can still get in contact with their favorite employees and these are all solutions that simply weren’t available 20 or even ten years ago. Now, technology allows employees to be as effective at home as they are in the office without detriment for clients.
Judging by input from both employees and managers, both parties can feel a little secluded and ‘invisible’ when employees work from home. Therefore, it’s important that performance management is kept as normal along with communication. Regardless of where they are, remote teams should always have SMART goals; Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.
With goals in place, the focus is taken away from the number of hours they spend working which is something that quickly becomes an issue with home-based workers. Instead, the emphasis is on reaching performance-related targets, and the business can keep progressing. At all times, you need to be proactive as a leader otherwise the whole system just won’t work. Instead of dwelling on the missing teamwork and community, it’s the role of the leader to replace these factors adequately.
If remote teams are going to be an essential ingredient in your business moving forward, it should start to play a role in your recruitment policy too. As well as searching for people who have experience working remotely, we also recommend looking out for some essential skills including collaboration, common sense, self-motivation, ability to prioritize, organization, communication, and adaptability.
Whether this comes at the office at the end of each week or perhaps even a more social get together, this can be critical for the dynamic within the group. If your remote teams are spread out across the country and even the world, this isn’t something that’s going to be available to you, but a weekly drink or meal can be critical. These social events are important in creating group synergy. Often, a business relies upon the camaraderie of its employees and the leader should proactively create ways of keeping this in place.
Learn and Adapt
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you always need to learn from your successes and failures before then using this to enforce positive change. Rather than setting up remote teams once and then abolishing the idea after one failure, be willing to learn and, over time, the process will be seamless, and you can run as one cohesive unit no matter where you’re all located in the world!